Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Norwood, a medium-sized town south of Boston.
How did you become interested in your field?
My interest started with astronomy. But unlike my professor, my interest wasn’t in stellar astronomy but in planetary astronomy. Since most of the planetary work is done in geology and geophysics departments rather than physics and astronomy, I switched. I was also interested in remote sensing, which isn’t surprising given my background in astronomy. But I was really intrigued with the geology and archaeology applications of the process. Of course, since my undergrad training didn’t include geology, I had a lot a ground to make up quickly.
Where did you go to school?
I went to Wheaton College in Norton, MA for undergrad. That’s where I studied history and astronomy. Then I went to Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN where I studied geophysics. While I was there, one of my officemates was Gerardo Iturrino, who is now the Supervisor of Science Services here in the Borehole Research Group.
Did you ever seriously consider another career?
Yes. In addition to science, I’ve always been interested in politics and government. I actually worked in a Congressional campaign when I was twelve years old – I don’t think many of the people involved knew how much I was doing or how young I was. When I graduated from college I had to make the decision whether to continue on to law school in preparation for a government career, or to go down the science path. I obviously chose the science path.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
I was once on the election ballot as a candidate (and won). Part of the governance of Norwood is a town meeting with elected representatives. After graduating from college I ran for one of the open seats and won. For purposes of full disclosure, I should say that there were about ten available positions and probably only eleven or twelve candidates.